Z-Smart Cities : a look at the smart cities of Belgium
Published on 20/05/2016 in News
Z-Smart Cities, a 10-part TV series, ran until April 2 on Canal Z and can still be viewed online. The reports show new technologies and smart applications that help improve mobility, safety, quality of life and provision of services to the public. The series provides a wealth of ideas and possibilities for decision makers in both larger cities and smaller municipalities.
Smart applications, smart technology
A reliable network and new technology like the Internet of Things are the basis for smart applications. Z-Smart Cities illustrates these technologies with concrete examples. The ‘smart parking’ app, for example, leads drivers to an available parking place in Aarschot. For this, the traffic infrastructure is connected with sensors and computers. The Proximus LoRaWAN network lets these ‘things’ and devices communicate with each other. Users of the app should also be informed immediately when a parking place is free. A secure network with adequate capacity that is always up and running is crucial for this. Glass fiber, LoRaWAN, 4G, Wi-Fi, and in the future 5G ensure that connectivity.
Different target groups, different needs
Cities and municipalities must take account of various target groups. Each of these target groups has different needs and requirements. Just consider safety and clean air for residents, and mobility and easy accessibility for tourists and commuters. The project in Ixelles, for example, maps out the air quality via sensors on municipal vehicles. This results in ‘heat maps’ that policymakers use to tackle pollution with the creation of pedestrian zones and zero-emission zones. There is also a mobile navigation app in the project that shows pedestrians and cyclists the healthiest route to their destination.
Big cities, small entities
Z-Smart Cities spotlights a wide variety of projects. There are ideas from the stories of the big cities that smaller entities and projects can also use. So cities and municipalities are eager to collaborate. Through the collaboration policymakers can learn from each other, and by investing together they achieve a good result faster. For instance, the Walloon Brabant province is studying mobility in its territory. Via the network, Proximus records an enormous quantity of precise information on the movements of people between municipalities. Analysis of these big data allows both the province and the Walloon Brabant municipalities to work on a better mobility plan.
Support from the academic and business world
Cities and municipalities should be able to fall back on the research of academic institutions. The Smart City Institute, a collaboration between professors and researchers, private and public partners, and experts, was established from that point of view with the support of Proximus. Proximus itself also has the knowhow, the infrastructure and the technology to offer cities and municipalities a new perspective and collaborate with policymakers to realize their most innovative ideas.